Field Trip: Battle on Lexington Green

Redcoats with statue of militiaman

Redcoats with statue of militiaman

Sometimes things just line up perfectly, beyond anything you could possibly have planned. Last week we began reading about the American Revolution. I got a bunch of picture books out from the library and we were immersing ourselves in it: The Boston Tea Party; Let It Begin Here (about Lexington and Concord); George vs George; Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?

I decided to look up possible local reenactments to attend. A friend of mine belongs to a reenactment group in Danvers, so I know there are a lot of things happening. Fortuitously, this weekend had several different events to attend. We decided that the Saturday afternoon dress rehearsal for the battle of Lexington Green would be the best one. The actual battle happened at about 5:30am on April 19 and that’s when the reenactment takes place. But that’s a bit early for us. Luckily, they do a dress rehearsal the weekend before, which was just about our speed.

We left at around 10, planning to get to Lexington in plenty of time to find parking and lunch and to look around a bit before the event started at 2. We got there a little too early so ended up walking about. We found a lovely children’s bookstore that was perfect for whiling away some time. Our family loves bookstores. Soon the kids had pulled books of the shelf and settled onto the cushions provided. We had to drag ourselves away.

In the children's bookstore, Sophie and Lucy reading

In the children’s bookstore, Sophie and Lucy reading

Then we found a little deli where we got some sandwiches. They even had gluten free bread for Lucy. I had a very good caprese sandwich with prosciutto, my favorite. We got some chips and drinks too and went across the street to a park to eat. It was a bit chilly with a biting wind, but the kids ran around and kept themselves warm.

Picnic lunch

Picnic lunch

Sophie and Ben play after finishing their lunch.

Sophie and Ben play after finishing their lunch.

After lunch we ducked into the visitor’s center to get warm, look at souvenirs, and use the bathrooms. Then having more time to kill we visited Buckman’s Tavern, where the patriots gathered while awaiting news of the approaching redcoats. They had a nice audio tour, that everyone but Anthony enjoyed. I think he was overtired. He just fussed and dragged his feet.

Redcoats at the visitor's center

Redcoats at the visitor’s center

Audiotour in Buckman Tavern

Audiotour in Buckman Tavern

Then we headed over to the Battle Green where already people were gathering. Redcoats in their shiny uniforms, the militiamen in their homespun coats. Muskets, wigs. Drums and fifes. We watched the militiamen drilling. The kids ran around on the grass.

Our first glimpse of reenactors

Our first glimpse of reenactors

Militiamen drilling

Militiamen drilling

Militiaman closeup of musket

Militiaman closeup of musket

The battle itself was thrilling. It took awhile for both sides to line up. The redcoats were in much neater ranks and outnumbered the militia men (the actual numbers for the battle were about 400 redcoats and 70 militia, present on Saturday were about 80 redcoat reenactors and maybe 30 colonials.) When the time came first there was a messenger came running up to announce that the Regulars were near. Then two men came running out of the tavern carrying John Hancock’s trunk.

Then finally the redcoat leader advanced and ordered the rebels to lay down their arms. There was a pause and then the rebel leader told his men to obey and lay down their arms and they all rushed over to hug the redcoats, a group of which broke out into song, “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” Everyone laughed and applauded and then the ranks were reformed and they did it for real.

Bella watches the action

Bella watches the action

Bella watches the redcoats mustering

Bella watches the redcoats mustering

Redcoats

Redcoats

Redcoats

Redcoats

Militiamen

Militiamen

Redcoats chase the rebels

Redcoats chase the rebels

Bayonets fixed

Bayonets fixed

The bluster and posturing, the fixing of bayonets and moving in for action. The shot rings out from the tavern because historians have no idea who shot first. Then a flurry of action and a bunch of the militiamen fall and the others turn and run and the redcoats chase them off among the houses. Then the minister and the women come running out to attend to the fallen.

Tending to the fallen

Tending to the fallen

The redcoats return and reform, fire a volley and then march off to the beat of a drum and the tune of Yankee Doodle followed by Rule Brittania. Then a bunch of standing around and they reformed and were just beginning a second go as we left. Time to get the tired kids home.

Marching with fifes and drums

Marching with fifes and drums

Of course once we got home Ben and Bella improvised muskets and demonstrated that they’d been paying attention to the proper way to load and carry them.

Ben demonstrates the proper way to hold a musket

Ben demonstrates the proper way to hold a musket

Bella loads her musket while Ben poses with his

Bella loads her musket while Ben poses with his

2 Responses to Field Trip: Battle on Lexington Green

  1. Michael April 17, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Curious – which books did you read?

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2740766-let-it-begin-here?ac=1

    or

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/901283.Let_It_Begin_Here_?ac=1

    and there are numerous ones titled “The Boston Tea Party” – can you supply author?

    Thanks!

    • Melanie Bettinelli April 18, 2015 at 2:24 am #

      I’ll try to post a follow-up post with titles and authors of all the books we’ve read so far.

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